Dr. Varney was taking time to unwind. He often did this towards the end of the day by finding a comfortable place in the library to read and take notes on the day’s happenings.
Taking notes, as it turned out, seemed to have benefitted him several times in the past. Knowing particular details about particular places that just happened to be the scene of a crime can come in handy. And so, the doctor relaxed, read, and took notes.
The librarian, Mrs. Porter, approached him. She smiled kindly and said, “Doctor, the library is closing in about . . .” she glanced down to check her watch. “. . . five minutes.”
“Thank you, dear woman. I shall, as they say, make myself scarce,” he replied with a grin.
“I much appreciate your cooperation, Doctor,” she returned.
“Anytime, Mrs. Porter,” he said, walking out the door.
He woke to the sound of footsteps bounding up the stairs. They stopped for a moment and then his door opened just as he was sitting up in his bed. It was Scott.
“Ah, Scott. I see you’re making good use of my room key,” he said with a short chuckle as he rose from his bed and began dressing.
“Indeed, Doctor. But there’s something more important I came to tell you about,” he replied, concernedly.
“What is it, lad?”
“It’s Mrs. Porter; she’s dead.”
A shocked Dr. Varney rolled up to the London Public Library in the cab he had hired. Why anything would have happened to her was a mystery to him. But that, after all, was his . . . cup of tea.
As he silently entered the building to the area where her corpse lay, he was still in a trance-like state. Mrs. Porter was the most kindhearted, compassionate woman he’d ever known.
What met him was not a pretty sight. The woman’s body had been badly mutilated by a very sharp blade of some sort; a machete or saber, more than likely. Her limbs were not entirely separated, but badly maimed. The librarian, who was in her fifties, had been brutally murdered for seemingly no reason at all.
Dr. Varney swiftly examined the body for clues as to who the ruthless, heartless perpetrators might be, but he couldn’t find much, besides the grisly work of the murder weapon. After this, the body and floor were cleaned up and restored to a presentable condition. While this was being performed, Varney decided to have a look around the rest of the building for some other possible clues.
As he reminisced, thinking about times past when he has soundlessly studied among the many shelves within the archive’s walls, he began to tear up. Why did the people so close to him have to pay the ultimate price for their friendship? Was it only a matter of time before even closer friends began to go as well?
As he wiped the tears from his eyes, he noticed something on the floor in a lonely corner of the large room. He carefully strode over towards the inconsistency in the flooring that had caught his eye. He gasped.
Etched into the hardwood floor of the library was a crest that he was all too familiar with . . .